By A.C. Robinson
ERBIL, Kurdistan Area – After listening to UN Goodwill Ambassador Nadia Murad communicate at an occasion hosted by World Samaritan Sources (GSR) in Abilene, Texas in April, a minister inspired his small neighborhood in rural US to return collectively and ship “Packing containers of Hope” to Iraq’s ISIS survivors and Internally Displaced Individuals (IDPs).
Texas minister Dr. Michael Harbour from the Fourth and Elm Church of Christ in Sweetwater, Texas, was current on the occasion and had the chance to fulfill with Murad afterwards. The assembly impressed him to assist the Yezidi neighborhood inside the Kurdistan Area in addition to different survivors of ISIS in Iraq.
Teaming up with native pastor Matt McGowen from Trinity Baptist Church in Sweetwater, they set out on their mission to carry their neighborhood collectively to assist Iraq’s displaced in addition to journey to the Kurdistan Area with the intention to meet with the affected communities.
Harbour mentioned the small neighborhood of Sweetwater, Texas, with a inhabitants of roughly 10,00zero, was capable of increase $25,00zero which was sufficient cash to offer 1,200 packing containers of non-perishable meals gadgets to be despatched to Iraq’s IDPs residing in camps close to Erbil and Duhok.
With the assistance of Stephanie Baker, the pinnacle of Cornerstone Christian College in Sweetwater, the neighborhood introduced collectively over 700 kids to brighten the 1,200 “packing containers of meals and hope” that had been to be despatched to the camps.
The youngsters had been requested to brighten every field with messages of encouragement, peace and love. There was no spiritual or “American” agenda behind the marketing campaign. Solely to like and settle for your neighbor, and assist these in want, wherever they lived on the planet.
Harbour and McGowen had been capable of make preparations with the US Air Power to switch the donations to the Kurdistan Area. They’re merely right here to “be taught” concerning the individuals of northern Iraq.
In April of this yr, Murad, 24-year-old ISIS survivor from the Yezidi neighborhood of Shingal, gave a speech within the west Texas metropolis of Abilene about her captivity beneath ISIS. Murad recounted her experiences of day by day torture and rape in addition to different atrocities by the militant group and the significance of standing towards ISIS for justice.
ISIS marched on Yezidi cities and villages shortly after it took management of enormous areas of Iraq, together with Mosul in 2014. The extremist group has killed 1000’s of Yezidis, principally males, and enslaved 1000’s extra Yezidi women and girls.
“The best energy on the planet is to like, understanding the reality,” Harbour acknowledged.
Harbour and McGowen linked with the Govt Director of GSR on the time, Danny Sims, who had beforehand been to Sinjar and had associates within the Kurdistan Area. Sims launched Harbour and McGowen to members of the Barzani Charity Basis to assist with the logistics in sending “Packing containers of Hope” to Iraq’s displaced.
Barzani Charity Basis is a non-profit group established in 2005 that gives humanitarian help to these in want within the Kurdistan area.
Harbour and McGowen arrived within the capital of Kurdistan, Erbil on Monday, June 12th not understanding what to anticipate. Harbour states that he got here to the Kurdistan area as a photographer and storyteller to carry consciousness again to his neighborhood within the US.
“Now we have a objective to open channels of communication and understanding,” Harbour acknowledged. He stresses that you will need to “love thy neighbor”, which means individuals in want. It doesn’t matter in case your neighbor comes from a unique ethnic or spiritual background.
Each males, accompanied by members from the Barzani Charity Basis, spent their first few days in Erbil visiting completely different IDP camps together with the Baharka camp which was opened in 2014 as a brief camp for many who began fleeing from ISIS in 2014. Baharka is now a everlasting IDP camp.
Additionally they traveled to the Hassansham U2 and U3 camps positioned simply outdoors of Mosul which had been opened by the UN Refugee Company (UNHCR). The IDP camps host 1000’s of civilians who’ve fled Mosul in the latest preventing because the Iraqi Military and US-led coalition forces battle to retake town from ISIS.
Harbour and McGowen had an opportunity to fulfill Yezidi, Christian and Muslim IDPs and sit and hearken to their tales of life beneath ISIS, escaping warfare and the way ISIS had uprooted their lives in addition to the obstacles confronted whereas residing within the IDP camps.
They’ve additional plans to go to IDP camps positioned close to Duhok earlier than returning to the US on June 21.
“What if Christians, Muslims, Jews, Yezidis and others had been working collectively to make the world a greater place?” Harbour mentioned.